Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Ivory Island

According to the locals this is the resting place of all dead souls (and no one has been able to prove them wrong yet).

This island of marble has been completely carved into shrines to the dead.Centuries ago when they realized that the Spirits of their ancestors slept in the very stones beneath their feet they began to pay them homage with tombs. Back then they had the space for "true" tombs, and the monuments were magnificent in scope if rudimentary in execution, and even a modest man could buy his own sepulcher to lay his bones in once he died.

As time slipped on and more Spirits began to reside there in ever and ever more grand housing, the Tomb Builders reached the height of their craft. Indeed, many of the architectural advances of the modern Age come from the Tomb Builders being confronted with the challenge of cutting more houses for bones out of the living white stone of the island.

Almost fractal now in its complexity, every nook and cranny has been utilized and memorialized. The narrow pathways wander over hill and artificial valley, every step you take is on an intricately carved tile for the Spirit of some poor man or woman, around every corner is a little alcove with a hundred shelves where the ashes of those long dead are laid for eternity. Every fountain is an homage to the beauty of a youth cut down too soon, every column a solemn memory of a parent much missed, and every bench a tribute to the hospitality of a generous entertainer long dead.

Now the few living Tomb Builders that are left tend to the graves of their ancestors and quietly work on their own. All arable land has been dug out till good solid white marble was hit, the island is now devoid of vegetation expect for the lichens and moss that crawl on the older tombs. The water table now purely serves the ever murmuring fountains, and the Tomb Builders import all of their food from other places as the Sea around the Ivory Island is poison to sea life from the run off of the marble. Other than the Tomb Builders and visitors, this is truly an island for the dead.

How to Use the Ivory Island

Now in its waning days the Ivory Island has become quite the destination for tourists from the not so distant Chalcis Chain, many sages and sorcerers of considerable potency have been interred here from centuries ago when it was still fashionable lay your Spirit to rest on the island.

For this reason one of the many wizards of Chalcis may ask you to fetch them the pinkie toe bone of some ancient mage so that they can enhance their scrying rituals. And of course there are untold but well rumored whispers of riches laid to rest beside the bodies of the dead, and it is said some bold blasphemous soul could simply wander into their tombs and liberate their artifacts.

This is also a popular destination for the descendants of the many people that are buried on the island, they are given special attention when summoning and bargaining with the Spirits of the dead. It would really help your bandit prince's claim on the throne if you can convince his long dead great-great-great-great-great-great-grand pappy to say that he is the heir.

In summary the island can serve as:

  • A fetch quest destination
  • A megadungeon littered with undead (the Spirits of the dead do not like grave robbers)
  • A place to get information or quests from your ancestors
I like the Ivory Island a lot, I may write a follow up post if my players ever find themselves in that neck of the sea...
Drawn by reddit user /u/AxelAbraxas


  1. I may just have to steal a variation on this for my own game, too evocative too pass up.

    1. Glad you may have a use for it, cheers!